The first 24 hours after a traumatic news event may present a journalist with considerable challenges and opportunities, both professionally and personally. The usual physical and psychological demands of trying to gather facts and write a story under deadline are greatly magnified when trauma is involved, especially when a large number of victims are dead or seriously injured (although even a single victim can be difficult to cover).
Photojournalists are part of the team of first responders whenever a tragedy occurs. They are there to document the news event in pictures and their work can have a strong and lasting impact on the public consciousness and themselves.
Early live reports of terrorist attacks are sometimes confusing and misleading. Yet there are also extraordinary examples of media excellence, with journalists risking their lives to inform the nation about an unfolding crisis.
The skills needed to interact with people under such stressful and unpredictable conditions do not usually come naturally. The goal of this module is to explain what traumatic stress is and why it is useful for journalists to know about its effects.